Head on over to your site and take a look around. Have you ever wondered how your site traffic finds what they’re looking for? Today it is all about efficiency: how quickly something can be done, with as little pain as possible. (Hello, Keyless Go!) But wait – what about customer service? Isn’t buying a car supposed to be a memorable experience with the best team of people helping you out every step of the way?

Coffee cup and notepad with pen on wooden tableAs you are probably aware, the journey to purchasing a vehicle starts way before the customer walks through the door. How is your dealership supposed to make that first impression and keep their interest? Why not start with your website?

Introducing Notepad! Strathcom has recently created a whole new level of options to help your dealership hold the attention of the valuable traffic coming to your website. The Notepad feature combines the best of both worlds, creating efficient customer service.

Add Notepad into your site, and users will be greeted with a small tracker that automatically tracks which vehicles they are looking at. Why do we say this is the best of both worlds? Because we do the work for the user! With no login necessary, your potential customers aren’t distracted from their main focus – your inventory! From there, your site will keep track of which cars the user has shown interest in; plus it gives them notifications of price changes! And finally, next time the user heads back to your site, Notepad will be there to remind them of the units they looked at last time so they don’t have to start at square 1. If the car has been sold since the last time they visited your site, Notepad will automatically remove it.  It’s quick, easy, and ever-so-painless!

Notepad is just one of many great tools that Strathcom is now offering. So sit back and let us take care of the heavy lifting!

For more information on Notepad and our other website personalization tools, give us a call today or subscribe to our newsletter.


Car Dealerships and Online Analytics: a primer

Website metrics.  Hooray.  Visits/Visitors, Bounce Rate, Time on Site, etc.  Where does it end.  And what measurements are important?  I could spend a week writing a novel about each measure, but wanted to write a quick primer for car dealers that explains the difference of the measurement and what they really mean.  I will cover off these topics in future posts in much more detail, but this guide is a good starting point for analyzing an automotive website in basic terms.

Visits and Visitors

Visits is the total number of times your site was visited.  Simple.  This number will always be higher than visitors because people buying cars tend to come back to websites throughout the buying cycle.

Visitors is *usually* (Not every analytics package is exactly the same, but I will settle on visitors being Unique Visitors) a measure of unique visitors coming to your site.  This is the actual number of  unique car buyers coming to look at your inventory.

These numbers can be affected by a few things.  First thing is any filters applied to your analytics.  I would typically recommend (if possible) that you filter out the IP Address of your dealership directly in analytics.  What this will do is NOT COUNT any visits to your website from your staff when they are at the dealership.  Counting those visits will artificially inflate your numbers and decrease things like your conversion rate, skewing the real results of your online marketing efforts (I would hope that your sales staff are not submitting leads on your dealer website).

Bounce Rate

Probably one of the more important but least understood statistics on your dealer website.  Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that arrive at a page somewhere on your site, only look at that page, and leave.  This is one of the best indicators of your online marketing efforts, especially when paired up by looking at the traffic source the visitors are coming from.  There is no right number for a bounce rate, but when you are selling cars, you want to make sure people land on a page that has something to do with cars (or service).  Having a box with specials right out front can help with this.  The other side to that coin is someone is simply looking for your phone number and that is that.  If you want to get super detailed, you can now track bounce rates relative to your inbound calls by using certain call tracking tools that provide your visitors with a unique toll free phone number.  If you are doing that, you are way ahead of the game today.

Time on Site

Time on site, like visits seems like it should be pretty straightforward, but there is certainly more than meets the eye.  Most analytics packages use sessions to track users on a site (some packages use your web log files, but that is a different animal).  In that session is a start time for each page visited.  By subtracting the time each page is visited from the previous page, Time on Site gets calculated.  See my lovely chart below:

  • 3:00 PM – I come to your Home Page.  I browse around your digital tent sale, look at your employee of the month, then I remember I came looking for a car.
  • 3:02 PM – I search for a BMW 750il on your site (I like big cars).  You have 6 in stock (clearly, you have fine taste in inventory).
  • 3:05 PM – I click on one of the BMW’s you have in stock and read your 6 paragraph description and look at the 45 photos you posted (good work!)
  • 3:10 PM – My attention span wanes while reading about this car and I leave your site heading to wikipedia to read about the higgs boson.

Time on Site: 5 Minutes

Whoa.  Wait a second.  You lied to me.  You said if I subtract the last time visited from the first, I get time on site, which in this case is 10 minutes.

True, I said that, but I also said there is more than meets the eye.  Since on the BMW page that I spent 5 minutes on, I then went off to some other page, most analytics packages (including Google) don’t know how long I spent on that page, since I left directly from it.  Since there is no trail after that, it assumes I left at 3:05 PM.

This method also relates to Bounce Rate.  If I come to your New Car Specials Page at 3:10, spend 20 minutes reading every special, then leave without having visited another page, Time on Site: 0 Minutes.  I know, it’s not fair.


These are 3 great Macro measurements for your websites performance, but they don’t really tie into your marketing efforts or dig beneath the surface of what makes visitors do things on your site.  In setting you up for the long game, ill cover off some heavy duty metrics for your site in my next post.  We will talk about CPA (Cost per Acquisiton), Loyalty, Page Depth, and more.